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Here’s the Forecast for Retail Sales This Year

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Consumers are “in the driver’s seat.”

Retail industry sales are likely to grow between 3.7 and 4.2 percent this year over 2016, according to a new forecast from the National Retail Federation.

“The economy is on firm ground as we head into 2017 and is expected to build on the momentum we saw late last year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With jobs and income growing and debt relatively low, the fundamentals are in place and the consumer is in the driver’s seat. But this year is unlike any other – while consumers have strength they haven’t had in the past, they will remain hesitant to spend until they have more certainty about policy changes on taxes, trade and other issues being debated in Congress.
“Lawmakers should take note and stand firm against any policies, rules or regulations that would increase the cost of everyday goods for American consumers,” Shay said.

Online and other non-store/online sales, which are included in the overall number, are expected to increase between 8 and 12 percent, according to NRF.

The economy is expected to gain an average of approximately 160,000 jobs a month. The number is down slightly from 2016 but consistent with labor market growth.

Unemployment is expected to drop to 4.6 percent by the end of the year.

Economic growth is likely to be in the range of 1.9 to 2.4 percent.

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“Prospects for consumer spending are straightforward – more jobs and more income will result in more spending,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Regardless of sentiment, the pace of wage growth and job creation dictate spending. Our forecast represents a baseline for the year, but potential fiscal policy changes could impact consumers and the economy. It seems unlikely that businesses will notably increase investment until tax reform and trade policies are well-defined.”

Retail industry sales as defined by NRF include most traditional retail categories including non-store sales, discounters, department stores, grocery stores, specialty stores, and auto parts and accessories stores but exclude sales at automotive dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

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$20M Pet Nutrition Facility to Focus on Needs of Small Dogs

It will be home to 80 small dogs under 12 pounds.

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TOPEKA, KS — Hill’s Pet Nutrition held a groundbreaking ceremony for a $20 million, 25,000-square-foot nutrition facility focused on the needs of small dogs, along with a center developed for veterinarian and other pet caregiver engagement.

“Hill’s is excited to announce the expansion of our world-renowned pet nutrition center to focus on the special needs of small dogs and also to enhance our involvement with those who care for pets through the new engagement center,” said Hill’s President Jesper Nordengaard. “We are always investing in research and development to serve the nutritional needs of pets as well as learning from veterinarians, customers and caregivers through their experiences.”

The new Small Paws center will be home to 80 small dogs under 12 pounds who will benefit from nutrition developed to their unique needs. The center will be devoted to exceptional veterinary care and offer indoor and outdoor enrichment activities that the dogs can choose during the day, including an outdoor Bark Park. The engagement center will have dedicated space to host educational seminars and continuing education programs for veterinary students and professionals.

“All around the world, there’s a steady increase in the popularity of small dogs. Our investment in this specialized facility will help us develop food with the taste and aesthetics that small dogs prefer and that works best with their distinctive behaviors and unique physiology,” said Dave Baloga, vice president, science and technology, for Hill’s. “The Small Paws center will allow us to better understand their needs and discover new ways to help them lead happy, healthy lives.”

Today, more than half of dogs in the U.S. are small and miniature, and the percentage is growing, notes Hill’s, which is part of Colgate-Palmolive Co. These small dogs have distinct needs compared to their larger cousins. For example, small stomachs mean they graze throughout the day, rather than eat one or two big meals like larger dogs. And because of their higher mass-specific metabolism, pound for pound, small dogs eat more than big dogs.

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State Makes It a Crime to Have a Fake Service Animal

Violators face fines and community service.

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Alabama is instituting criminal penalties for anyone who misrepresents a pet as a service animal.

The legislation takes effect Sept. 1. It makes such representation a Class C misdemeanor that leads to a $100 fine and 100 hours of community service, Al.com reports.

Under Alabama law, only dogs and miniature horses can qualify as service animals. They have to be trained specifically to help people with disabilities — emotional support animals do not count.

The law allows for signs to be posted in public places with this wording: “Service animals are welcome. It is illegal for a person to misrepresent an animal in that person’s possession as a service animal.”

According to Al.com, Alabama is one of 25 states with laws related to misrepresentation of service animals.

Read more at Al.com

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Meet the 1 Millionth Dog to Pass AKC’s ‘Canine Good Citizen’ Test

The program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and good manners for dogs.

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The American Kennel Club, the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is celebrating 1 million dogs passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.

The millionth dog to pass the test was a Bernese mountain dog named Fiona who is owned by Nora Pavone from Brooklyn, NY. Fiona attended instructor Kate Naito’s CGC classes at Brooklyn’s Doggie Academy as the initial step toward her future role as a grief therapy dog in nursing homes.

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“We are very proud of Fiona and the other hundreds of thousands of dogs that have passed the CGC test,” said Mary Burch, director of the Canine Good Citizen Program. “Many of these dogs go on for additional training to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Started in 1989, AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and good manners for dogs. The 10-step test consists of basic commands and actions like accepting a friendly stranger, sitting, staying, coming when called, walking through a crowd, and behaving politely around other dogs, among others. All dogs who pass the test may receive a certificate from the AKC.

“A million CGC dogs is an amazing milestone. The program has done so much good, from helping dog owners teach their pet good manners to rehabilitating dogs that have had behavioral issues,” said Doug Ljungren, executive vice president of AKC Sports & Events. “CGC instructors can be justifiably proud of the great work they have done for dogs and their owners.”

The Canine Good Citizen Program has been adopted and utilized for many activities that require basic good citizen behavior. CGC training and titles are used as a prerequisite by therapy dog groups. Many service dog organizations start their dogs with CGC training, and shelter organizations are utilizing the “CGC Ready” program to demonstrate that their rescue dogs are good citizens.

Several dog daycare facilities train dogs for the test and 4-H clubs around the country have been using CGC as a beginning dog training program. Other countries (including Korea, India, England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and Finland) have developed CGC programs based on the AKC’s Program.

Legislative Resolutions endorsing the CGC program as a way of teaching responsible dog ownership and canine good manners have been passed in 48 states, and police and animal control agencies use the CGC program for dealing with dog problems in communities. In addition, some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing, and an increasing number of apartments, condos and businesses require that resident dogs pass the CGC test.

More information about the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program can be found at: https://www.akc.org/products-services/training-programs/canine-good-citizen/

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